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Portion of SAFE-T Act Tossed by Kankakee County Judge

KANKAKEE COUNTY — Illinois’ controversial SAFE-T Act is once again in question after a judge made a major change to it Wednesday.

Kankakee County Chief Judge Thomas Cunnington’s ruling sides with prosecutors and sheriffs from across the state. But the ruling will only affect a portion of the SAFE-T act.

And state leaders plan to take this fight up to the Supreme Court.

Cunnington’s ruling stated that “the appropriateness of bail rests with the authority of the court and may not be determined by legislative fiat.”

The ruling came after more than 60 different lawsuits were combined and filed by sheriffs and prosecutors who said the legislation violates the separation of powers and improperly amended the state constitution.

The judge’s ruling on cash bail is binding only in a limited number of judicial circuits in Illinois that were covered under 65 combined lawsuits.

The act is set to go into effect next week — bringing with it the elimination of cash bail — and allowing people in jail to request a pre-trial hearing where a judge would make a decision about their release.

Also, new defendants would go before a judge who would determine if they should be let go while waiting for their trial to begin.

State Attorney General Kwame Raoul said he is planning to appeal the judge’s ruling directly to the Illinois Supreme Court.